Where’s Poncho?

New Years celebration in: Parral
A drop of elevation=2559 ft/ 780 m from Guachochi to Parral = WEEEEEEE!!!!!

It took us two 1/2 days of riding from the small grimy city Guachochi to the charming city of Parral. We were surprised with out fast timing- the first day we covered 90 kms in 6 hours. That was an amazing day for riding. We sailed down the mountains at speeds up to 50 km/hr. In one day we started in pine forest and ended in arid rolling hills of the valley- with beautiful views of canyons all the way down. The second day, we did not have steep hills like the day before. There were more climbs. By the 3rd morning- it only took us an our to ride from our campsite (a huge hill overlooking the distant city lights) The last coulple night’s were not as cold (above freezing points), either.

A morning fog hanging over a small village

The road ahead- rolling into the valleys

A cowboy and his grand-daughter

Parral – historically recognized for artisan dulces de leche and where Poncho Villa took a fatal bullet (He was burried in Paral, then later his body was moved to Mexico City).  The orentation of the city is a bit confusing, but it’s small enough to figure out. The city is built on steep hills, colorful and historic buildings, and surprisingly -a lot of traffic. It could just be the holidays.

Entering into the "centro zone" of Parral. Views of the cathedral, ahead

There was a truck parading around a jaguar in a cage while playing jazzy music.. I felt sorry for the large cat

The view outside of our hotel- a large church and the western part of the downtown zone

We found a bike shop where I got a replacement crank with 22 teeth on the front lowest gear, replacing my 30 teeth lowest gear. Both Chris and Birch highly suggested I get this replaced if I were to continue riding in the mountains. The cost was 3 times cheeper than if I were to buy and get the service done in the US.

After an episode of armmed policia throwing us off the train- its been an unexpected tour. I wasn’t prepared to climb hundreds of feet over mountains and through canyons. I also was not prepared to camp during nights reaching below freezing points. I am also north of Los Mochis, where I was over a week ago.

However- I have seen incredible Mexican country. I have seen canyons that are 4 tmes larger than the Grand Canyon. The small cities deep in the mountians of Chihuahua were a new world to explore. The views of the canyons coupled with the adrenaline rush from soaring down the mountains, was a unforgettable experience. I appreciated passing through the villages of the Tarahumaras- seeing the cowboys and colorfully dressed ladies. I also enjoyed riding on roads with much less traffic. I am impressed with myself that I have rode from an elevation point of 7500 feet, down into the canyons and back up to 7874 feet- in two days, from Creel to Guachochi. And what I appreciate most, is having two awesome guys to travel with. It has truly felt like adventurous cycling.

We will celebrate together here, in Parral, for New Years. Then, we shall continue the journey through Mexico, in 2012!

Happy New Year, and New Beginnings, folks!

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